Amazing Aitutaki – A list of Firsts

Posted on March 2, 2021

Aitutaki is a triangular-shaped atoll rising up 400 metres from the floor of the Pacific Ocean. One large hook shaped island and 14 smaller islands surround a beautiful turquoise lagoon which many claim is the most beautiful lagoon in the world.

Around 900AD the great legendary Polynesian Chief Ru first discovered what is now known as Aitutaki. Ru gave it the name Utitaki Enua O Ru Ki Te Moana, which, when translated this means Ru’s Journey With His People Across The Pacific Ocean.

The first Europeans to arrive were Captain William Bligh and his crew aboard the Bounty. Shortly after his arrival on April 11, 1789, the famous mutiny occurred. Bligh is credited for first introducing pawpaw and wild pigs to Aitutaki. Pork and pawpaw go so well together – thanks for the dinner idea Captain!

The first Cook Island’s Prime Minister was from Aitutaki and led our first government, following Cook Island’s independence from New Zealand in 1965. His name was Albert Henry.  Another first for Aitutaki was the Cook Islands first international airport, located in Aitutaki lagoon. This was part of the famous ‘Coral Route’ operated by the Tasman Empire Airways Ltd (TEAL), which was the forerunner of Air New Zealand.

Religion first arrived in the form of John Williams from the London Missionary Society. Testament to his arrival is the main church in Arutanga, which is still used today.

Aitutaki is renowned for its passionate dancers and drummers and the community consistently produces winning cultural teams have often taking out first place at annual national events in here in the Cook Islands in the past.

Whether your next visit is your first, or the first in a while, make sure to experience our beautiful Pacific Resort Aitutaki, set right on the breath-taking lagoon and its white sand beach.